McCarthy Building Companies Inc., one of the nation’s oldest and largest privately held construction firms, has promoted Miranda Ruff to project manager in its Las Vegas office. Ruff brings an impressive array of experience and a lifelong love of learning and sharing construction industry insight to her new role.
A shining example of the opportunities and professional growth available for women in the industry, Ruff is eager to continue to apply her skills and knowledge while fostering a path of professional growth and development of others.
Q: Tell us how you became interested in the construction industry?
A: I was born and raised in Walla, Walla, Washington, and my dad is a mechanical engineer. I knew probably since the seventh grade that I wanted to pursue something industry-related, and I loved math and science, so I started down the engineering path. I attended Arizona State University majoring in civil engineering. Through coursework and five internships with a variety of well-respected and high-profile firms, I soon discovered that I wanted to move away from design and into the building side of the business, so I changed my major to construction engineering.
Q: What path led you to McCarthy Building Companies?
A: My first experience with McCarthy was through an internship. I had worked on projects in Hawaii, Arizona and Minnesota before the opportunity to move to Las Vegas to work with McCarthy on the Palms Resort & Casino renovation project presented itself. Renovating nearly an entire casino exposed me to new scopes of work and an extremely fast-paced, yet collaborative, working environment – the continual learning and growth fueled my motivation. I finished up my last semester at school and started full-time with McCarthy that spring as a project engineer. It has been a great experience and I have been able to expand my roles and responsibilities with every project.
Q: What has your experience been like?
A: One of the things that most attracted me to McCarthy is its culture. There is a definite emphasis on collaboration, teamwork, and professional growth that excites me. I have had the opportunity to contribute to a number of projects here in Las Vegas that really define the city landscape including the Palms Casino Remodel, and Circa Resort & Casino, where I helped manage the concrete for the tower which is one of the tallest self-perform concrete jobs McCarthy has done. Right now, I am helping to provide preconstruction services for Dream Hotel and Casino that I am excited to get to build.
Q: What strengths do you think you bring to your new role?
A: Working collaboratively is super important and I thrive when I can help lead us as one team. Even if it is working with several different companies, we are all working towards the same goal. I love learning as much as teaching, so it’s exciting to see what talents other people bring and how best to leverage their talents to create opportunities for others and myself to learn more about new scopes of work and techniques.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to have increased inclusion of women in the industry?
A: A more diverse group of people lends itself to more ideas. The more diverse the group, the more potential solutions or ideas you will get. I feel women, in particular, are well suited for construction and often have strong organization skills, can take on complicated challenges, are solutions-oriented, and are good at managing a variety of things, tasks, and people. My mom used to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and really enjoyed the work, but I don’t think she ever thought that it could be a career possibility or choice for her. I want girls who are considering construction as an option to explore, ask questions and go for it. In the time I have been in the industry, I have noticed more women in the field as well as administrative roles. I believe this coming summer, nearly 30% of our interns will be women.
Q: You mentioned your love of learning and teaching. How are you incorporating that into your work with McCarthy?
A: Personally, I love learning, so I feel fortunate that my position with McCarthy is that of ongoing learning and growth. Every day is different and exciting. In addition to my role on a jobsite, I have served on our internal training and peer group committees for the last four years. Even in college, I was a teacher’s assistant and tutor, so I really prioritized continuous learning and mentorship. McCarthy also has a Partnership for Women community that is great for mentor/mentoring partnerships. Through hosted events, I have been able to connect with so many inspiring women in this industry. I have also been provided the opportunity to support local high school students who are developing an interest in construction by leading them through jobsite tours, guest speaking on careers, and working with them as part of our high school internship program.
Q: What else do you like to do in your free time?
A: I really enjoy photography – landscape, nighttime, family and I also like kayaking, hiking, swimming and the great outdoors. I love the desert!